Malaysia Airlines Postpones 737 MAX Jets Until 2024

Malaysia Airlines have announced that it has agreed with planemaker Boeing to defer its 737 MAX deliveries. The order for 25 of the jets still stands, and the planes will arrive with the airline from 2024 onwards over the course of three to four years.

Deliveries of Malaysia’s MAXs were initially scheduled to commence in July last year. The carrier first officially suspended deliveries of its MAX orders back in January 2020 – a mere formality as the MAX was banned from flying. Now, over 12 months of COVID and crisis mean that the planes will not arrive with the airline for some years to come.

While some have speculated on whether or not the 737 MAX is the right plane for Malaysia, suggesting that the airline could be better served by smaller planes such as the Airbus A220, Malaysia Aviation Group’s CEO, Izham Ismail, is adamant that the airline will see the order through.

According to the new agreement between the two parties, the 737 MAX will begin arriving in Kuala Lumpur in 2024, with deliveries stretching over three to four years. Meanwhile, the carrier remains open to bringing the deliveries forward should the situation improve.

Malaysia Airlines has orders for 15 of the MAX 8 and ten of the MAX 10. When signing the firm order in July 2016, the airline said it would take 25 of the MAX 8s and keep options for another 25. However, an MoU with Boeing in 2017 saw the carrier swap ten of the jets for the larger variant. The airline has operated almost all versions of the 737, taking its first 737-200 in March 1980.

The 2017 MoU also included a potential order for eight of Boeing’s 787-9 Dreamliners. However, a little over a year later, in September 2018, Malaysia Airlines announced that the tentative agreement had lapsed and that the carrier was looking into other options for replacing its widebody fleet.